Evan Munoz Carries Men’s Soccer Past Cal Lutheran with Double Overtime Goal

Most sporting events are determined by mere inches. A tiny amount of space determines whether a ball is fair or foul, whether a three-pointer is blocked or swished, whether a wide receiver is in or out of the endzone, and whether a team wins or loses.Evan Munoz PI ’12 gave the Pomona-Pitzer Men’s Soccer Team that extra inch when he scored a brilliant sudden-death goal to lift the Sagehens over Cal Lutheran in double overtime last Wednesday. Munoz’s shot snuck just inside the far post, giving his team a hard-earned 2-1 victory and a record of 7-1 through the opening round of SCIAC play.“They were trying to clear the ball out and it came to me,” Munoz said after the game. “They had a couple of defenders pressing pretty hard, so I juked and pushed the ball forward. I hit it far post like coach teaches us in practice, and that’s pretty much how we won the game.”The goal could not have come at a better time for P-P; it gave the team sole possession of first place in SCIAC and was a major reason it wound up tied for eighth place in the latest NCAA Western Region coaches’ poll. The Sagehens’ outstanding goal differential also played a large role in the team’s ranking. P-P has scored 20 goals while surrendering only seven thanks to a stingy defense and the offensive fireworks of Danny Nasry PO ’13 (four goals, four assists), Wynn Sullivan PO ’10 (three goals, one assist), and Munoz (three goals, one assist). More evidence of P-P’s talent, depth, and versatility is the fact that 12 different Sagehens have recorded goals.Yet, even with all the skill in the world, a soccer team still needs a lucky bounce sometimes. In last week’s fixture, fortune favored the Sagehens in the 32nd minute when Franco Simbana PI ’12 drilled a shot that deflected off a Cal Lu defender and flew past the keeper. The shot was probably not headed for the back of the net until the Kingsmen defender got a piece of it.Robbie Hull PO ’13 dominated the central midfield for much of the game and recorded the assist on Simbana’s goal. He also defended as fiercely as a yeoman to help P-P cling to a 1-0 lead for much of regulation. The game was not devoid of action, though. In the 79th minute, a long-range shot from Cal Lu beat goalie Rollie Thayer PO ’13, but hit the crossbar instead of the Sagehen net. Even with the lead was intact, the Kingsmen kept charging, and had an astonishing 18 shots in the second half.With just 2:11 left to play in regulation, P-P was ready to record their first victory on Cal Lu soil since 2005, but the Kingsmen were not about to go quietly into the night. A foul outside the P-P 18-yard box set up a free kick for Kingsman Robbie Spangler, who buried the ball in the top corner to equalize.The Sagehens still had a chance to end the game in regulation. With ten seconds left, Nasry played a lovely through ball to put Zack Burke PO ’10 in on goal with a chance for a last-second dagger. However, the hulking Burke was dispossessed by the Cal Lu keeper as time expired.“It was my first time in on goal in probably six years, it didn’t go so well,” Burke said. “[Nasry] slipped in a really good ball and I got onto it. I probably should’ve taken a touch, but the keeper came at me a little faster than I thought he was going to and closed me down. I tried to play it around him, but he just got his fingers to it.”The first overtime was largely a wash, although P-P’s Thayer was tested on several occasions and rose magnificently to the task. But in the first minute of the second overtime, Munoz stepped up to the plate and took a long pass out of the air at the corner of the 18. With two touches, he was able to get past a Cal Lu defender and set up a shot to the far post. Then, Munoz just had to win that game of inches.P-P also traveled to Caltech last Saturday, where they won 3-1 thanks to goals by Hull, Nasry, and Gator Halpern PO ’12. Their next game is Saturday, Oct. 17 at CMS, where they will need a win to hold on to the Golden Boot (the trophy awarded annually to the winner of the 6th Street Rivalry). If you are on campus for fall break, it will be a real treat; bring firecrackers and air horns to liven up the atmosphere.

Facebook Comments

Leave a Reply